Benediction (30 days in the asylum) | Paulette Claire Turcotte
There is a secret medicine given only to those who hurt so hard they cannot hope. —Rumi
- somewhere a woman,
- you were intoxicated with the light from a thousand brilliant suns
but the lights were out where I came from
- my heart was pounding as I turned to leave
listen, I said, I break like tinder
- you loved my specific and colourful madness
the touch of my fingertips on your cheek
- look now, no regrets
- crows feed on my grief
I am petrified wood
- vestiges of human frailty stalk me
something alien breathes in me
- the planets still orbit the around the sun
- I beseech the saints,
mourn prophets light candles to the Blessed Virgin
- I am the disappeared
inventing my own city
the streets and I
fronting on insanity
- I am a muscle, an eel, a fish, I am a heart, a woman
- the lunatic forum for the marginalized
- I am petrified wood
- I run naked into the streets
- there were too many nights like this you said
- now the saints whisper,
asking me to believe.
- the bite of the dark
the cold of the walls
the corpses stacked along the way
- naked, I wander the hallways
looking for comfort
signs mistaken for wonders
the pity beyond all telling
- we were bruised and we were healed
I wrote letters from the asylum an act of contrition is a lonely sacrifice
- the voices taunted me from behind the walls
I was clothed by the good sisters,
dreamed into being by their persistent prayers
- letters, words, proof that I’m here, I exist
- I lie down with my dreams and the stars,
with my head at the roots
of that one tree you see there
- the birds are about.
- I can smell the loam.
- am I too late?
- what is the colour of hope?
- I dream of a changeling
animal and divine
- I am holding out for the sacred medicine.
- sometimes your desires are all that’s left after the storm
- still, it’s hard, wrestling with a stone.